Canada's New Democratic Party promises national broadband and net neutrality

Canada's left-leaning New Democratic Party have unveiled their Internet campaign promises for this election; they're a stark contrast to the Tories, who've vowed to re-engineer Canada's network to make it easier to spy on Canadians without a court order. Instead, the NDP promises to extend broadband (wired and wireless) across the nation, to force the CRTC (the national telcoms regulator) to be more responsive to consumer interests, and to enshrine net neutrality (a term coined by Canadian Tim Wu!) into law.
* We will apply the proceeds from the advanced wireless spectrum auction to ensure all Canadians, no matter where they live, will have quality high-speed broadband internet access;
* We will expect the major internet carriers to contribute financially to this goal;
* We will rescind the 2006 Conservative industry-oriented directive to the CRTC and direct the regulator to stand up for the public interest, not just the major telecommunications companies;
* We will enshrine "net neutrality" in law, end price gouging and "net throttling," with clear rules for Internet Service Providers (ISPs), enforced by the CRTC;
* We will prohibit all forms of usage-based billing (UBB) by Internet Service Providers (ISPs);
* We will introduce a bill on copyright reform to ensure that Canada complies with its international treaty obligations, while balancing consumers' and creators' rights.
NDP Unveils Its Digital Economy Strategy: Reshaping Internet Access in Canada

(Image: Rainbows, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from jaqian's photostream)


    1. The NDP doesn’t try to hide the fact they’re a socialist party though. They fully bill themselves as a democratic socialist party, and we’re okay with that.

      1. No, they are self described as a Social Democratic Party. These terms have different meanings.

    2. I would imagine they would be difficult to hear over the similar screams of like minded groups here. The teabaggers are a minority group despite their huge vocal and media presence. The U.S. has a higher population of democratic socialists than Canada albeit on a smaller percentage scale. Ad hominem attacks to an entire country based on the simplistic views of a few is counter productive. We often joke about the U.S.’s stereotypical view of Canada as ignorant, but we do them no better. We like to dress them up to an image they don’t truly represent simply to make ourselves feel better. The NDP should be a party of critical thinking and unbiased opinions.

  1. As divided as our country is, the Conservatives, can easily get elected while the vast majority of the population, voting or nonvoting, is opposed to what they stand for, with every fiber of their being.

    Efforts to defeat them are also hampered by the fact that the Liberals are gonadless, the NDP has no sense of gaining power, and that the most progressive part of Canada is voting for the Bloc Québécois. The latter party has only a mission of fucking up things to favor the independance of Quebec: they will never ally itself to anyone to form a government.

    1. The latter party has only a mission of fucking up things to favor the independance of Quebec: they will never ally itself to anyone to form a government.

      Except they almost did; remember, there was going to be a coalition, but Harper prorogued the government? And now he’s using the idea of a coalition with the Bloc to try and frighten people into voting for him, although once upon a time he had invited them to form a coalition with his party too.

  2. I often see headlines “Party X promises XYZ” but somehow it’s very rarely followed up later with a story on how they delivered on their promises. Actions speak louder than words, especially when you’ve got a habit of making empty promises.

    1. Federally the NDP has never formed a government, so it is hard to make a claim that they don’t follow through.

      In a few of the provinces the NDP have been government, sometimes for long periods. All governments make errors, and they have been no exception. However, with one notable exception (Bob Rae in Ontario, now a federal Liberal), NDP provincial governments have consistently inherited large deficits from their right wing predecessors, and left behind budget surpluses or balanced budgets for their more right wing successors. Who, with amazing consistency, have immediately squandered said surpluses with handouts to their corporate friends and (often) large increases in government spending.

      Sadly, these historical facts are ignored in a constant theme of ‘big spending lefties’ vs. small government conservatives.

      1. I endorse this message; it is a remarkably concise and accurate history of party politics in Canada.

      2. Federally the NDP has never formed a government, so it is hard to make a claim that they don’t follow through.

        Especially since even though they’ve never been in the PMO, they delivered on their promise of universal healthcare.

        1. How To Lie With Statistics!

          Don’t look at the party of who sits in the oval office. Look at the party that controls congress. The president has pretty limited powers, the budget is set by who controls congress. Look at what is happening this year; the republican congress has way more control of the budget than Obama has. Way more. Obama has got to bargain with Boehner to get anything.

  3. It is a tragedy that issues of net neutrality and broadband access have become politicized in the USA and in Canada.

    Citizens are the losers in this battles.

    1. we should try that here in the states.

      You forgot about stupid tea baggers that’ll fuck this up like everything else they are unknowingly guided to fuck up by corporatists that pull their little puppet strings.


  4. If the NDP and the Liberals split the national vote YET AGAIN and Harper slithers his way up the middle into power YET AGAIN, my f***ing head is going to blow up. People, we need to vote strategically. Look for whoever has the best chance of defeating the Tory in your riding and vote for them – Liberal, NDP or Bloc, it doesn’t matter – just don’t vote for Shithead Harper or any of his spineless minions. These people are fascists bent on destroying our country!!!

    1. Yes, vote strategically… FOR THE PARTY YOU WANT IN POWER! How many Liberal votes come from people who would otherwise love to have an NDP government, except that they’re afraid of the Conservatives. Vote with your heart, put as many NDP members in Parliament as possible. Don’t order Ham when you want Beef!

    2. Agreed. Harper has to go.

      I really like what Jack Layton is saying and I’m fortunate that my riding is overwhelmingly NDP, so I can vote NDP. If I had to vote Liberal or otherwise to see Harper fall, that’s what I would do.

  5. I agree. We have to vote strategically. I find a natural home in the NDP but I will be voting liberal do my part to deny The Harper Government another seat.

  6. Or Canada could dump “first past the post” voting and start using runoffs. Then it wouldn’t matter if there were multiple parties in a particular section of the political spectrum. Sure runoffs have their own problem with lower voter turnout but it’s still better than someone with 30% of the vote winning a riding.

    1. There have been a few tries to float a non-ridiculous voting system but none of the parties with elected candidates have ever supported them and they’ve all gone down in smoke. Dear Leader Harper often counts on the opposition parties refusing to take steps against him that might entail damaging their own rackets and he’s seldom disappointed.

  7. I don’t listen to anything Jack Layton says since he won’t win this election and he’s just trying to secure the fringe vote.

    Vote for Harper people! He may be the most unlikable guy in the whole world and he may have the personality of a fence post, but his policies are sound. The liberals want to throw you a carrot made up of empty promises.

    Big business are rich and make lots of money, but even they need a reason to get bigger and to spend more money! So we give them more reasons to keep jobs here in Canada and create more in the long term. I don’t know about you, but I’d much rather have a job then a bunch of useless tax credits and a list of promises that probably wont be kept or are just made to sound better then they are.

    If Iggy were just a bit more likeable and left the corporate tax cut promise intact, I’d vote for him. But right now he’s all talk with no track record that I can point to. Better the devil you know…

    1. The “devil you know” is a Harper-led *minority* government. I, for one, certainly wouldn’t expect a a majority-led Harper government to behave similarly. If need be, let’s stick with another Conservative minority, one that can be brought down easily if need be.

    2. His policies are sound? You mean that “law and order” policy that slavishly follows the American model (proven to NOT WORK) of simply building more and more prisons, then passing draconian bullshit fearmongering laws to supply the people to fill them with?

      Or do you mean his fiscal policies? Like the one that inherited a hefty surplus from the previous gov’t and managed to turn it into a mind-boggling deficit within 3 years? Those policies?

      You’re right about one thing, though – he’s the most unlikable guy in the world.

    3. I am not a big fan of the Liberals, but everything they ever managed to do wrong while in power, the Conservatives have done since and then more some.

    4. Whatever you do, do not vote conservative or vote to support Harper. His policies are not sound. His policies are strongly anti-Canadian and his abuse of the Prime Ministers office to eliminate and disable important Canadian institutions like Parliament, Census Canada and the CRTC means a vote for the Conservatives is a vote against yourself. Harper and his party have had 3 kicks at the can and have shown that they cannot lead. Vote him out. Change would do Canada a world of good.

      1. This reply is to try to answer everyone who replied to my earlier comment:

        Yes he is the “Devil I know”. But the tough reality is that unless he can be allowed to unambiguously succeed or fail by holding a majority, he will keep winning minorities. Or failing that switching places with the liberals who will quickly find themselves at odds with the NDP and the Bloc. I believe Iggy when he said he won’t form a coalition.

        As for the prisons thing… I agree with you. Tough on crime doesn’t work and needs some revising. I voted Liberal for a long time but I just can’t understand why they would raise the corporate tax rate. Most “big business” in Canada isn’t owned by billionaires who live in ivory palaces. Most are medium sized businesses owned by (upper)middle class Canadians. They stand to benefit quite a lot when you lower taxes and can use the extra money to employ more people. Our manufacturing sector which has had its arse kicked by China and the recession especially needs that kind of break! The globe and mail has a little blurb that helps clarify the Corporate tax in Canada.

        I love listening to all you people whine about Harper thinking that the Liberals will come in and fix everything, or the NDP or what have you. I am not ignorant of the facts here and I know he isn’t perfect and quite frankly I don’t like him that much. But comparing apples to apples when it comes to policies, I can’t support the Liberals or the NDP. I could tell everyone here exactly why I think that but I think this reply is quite long enough.

        Oh and special mention to wookiedingleberry; really? honestly? you are calling me names? why not say something constructive? If you read this, then you have your opportunity.

  8. The NDP have consistently supported a change to the electoral system (for obvious reasons). Their vote is wide and shallow, as is the vote for the Green Party. Other parties, particularly the Bloc and the Conservatives, have narrow but deep voting pools. Aside from a very few ridings (i.e. Vancouver East) the NDP has to claw its way into any seats at all.

    The NDP consistently get far more votes than the BQ, but usually less than 1/3 the seats in Parliament. The Greens got more votes than the BQ, and ended up with 0 seats (vs 60+).

    The current system is designed to reflect geographical power bases – rooted in the old landowner as citizen idea – and does not at all account for other forms of political association.

  9. As a Canadian who now holds Australian citizenship, I really appreciate two features of “their” electoral/parliamentary system: Preferential voting and an elected Senate. Fat chance of either of these being adopted in Canada.

  10. The only way to really take down Harper would be to resurrect the Reform party or somehow otherwise split the rational conservatives from the loonies just like the NDP and Libs split the other half.

    I’m probably going to spoil my ballot – I live in a conservative stronghold and can’t bring myself to vote for the NDP or Libs, but James Moore is a two-faced dolt who has said many things which I find offensively stupid.

    1. Don’t spoil your ballot. Vote for the Greens (or anyone else) instead. It may not get them a seat, but it will provide election funding and standing for the next election. The greens may not have won a seat last time but all those votes that “didn’t count” are the reason they can run a full slate of candidates with national advertising and coverage this time around. If a million Canadians hadn’t wasted their ballots on the greens there would have been no important discussion about their inclusion in the leader’s debate this time around.

      Don’t spoil your ballot. Vote.

      1. Don’t spoil your ballot. Vote.

        Far better to spoil your ballot than not to vote at all. It sends the message that you’re willing to vote but no one is reaching you. Spoiled ballots finished sixth in the last election, I believe. However, it should be noted that spoiling your ballot is a crime in Canada.

        1. I disagree with that. Once you have made the effort to physically show up at the polling station spoiling the ballot has always seemed like a bit of a jerk move. At least in Canada we have four viable political parties currently sitting, with one major non-sitting party. There are another half dozen semi-legitimate parties.

          For all its problems we do have a vibrant political system. In the last few decades parties have gone from governments to almost wiped out of existence. There have been multiple parties that have come into existence and been competitive in the polls. Someone out there represents your views, at least in a general sense. Anything else and you haven’t done your homework.

          And if you haven’t done your homework why go to the trouble of showing up at the polling station at all?

          So even if it is for the communist party or the marijuana party, vote.

  11. I have consistently voted during every federal and provincial election since I turned 18. That 14 years now. Now, over those 14 years of voting, the candidate I’ve voted for has never won their seat.
    This is because in the 4 different ridings I have lived in, all of them except for one have been conservative strongholds. However, the one that wasn’t a conservative stronghold had the NDP candidate (who I voted for) lose by 8 votes because a lot of people were voting strategically Liberal to keep the Conservatives out of power…

    Once again, I find myself faced with an election where my vote will result in nothing because of the riding I live in… =(

    1. If the NPDer lost by 8 votes then the voters were not voting strategically. If you wish to vote strategically, then you should study the history of voting patterns in your riding and support the strongest candidate whom you can tolerate. If Libs always come second…go there, If NDP are always second …go there, if Green are consistantly second…go there.

  12. Ungrateful Canadians voting for the lesser of two evils when you have a perfectly viable social democratic party. Us Americans should be so lucky! (especially those of us who are incarcerated, are occupying other nations as part of a military force, are impoverished, etc, because of the policies of our two party state-corporate system).

  13. I’d love Jack Layton’s job. It must be fun thinking up campaign promises when you know you don’t have a hope in hell of ever forming a government and having to fulfil them.

    1. Careful what you ask for, Smart Guy. Ask the Tory and Liberal voters of Ontario and Nova Scotia (who were both gobsmacked to find they’d voted in provincial NDP gov’ts) what side of their muzzles they were laughing out of after those elections.

  14. Holy crap I may just have to vote NDP…net neutrality has become THE big issue atm, mostly because of certain official shenanigans.
    (I mean come on, we could be dealing with much bigger dragons, but the conservatives just HAD to put up this windmill).

  15. This is why I wish I could vote NDP – I agree with almost every point on their platform, but I face a dilemma. In my riding, the current MP is Liberal, and his only real competition is a Tory – the NDP candidate hasn’t even finished his undergraduate degree, for pete’s sake. I’ll be voting Liberal to keep the Tories out. I just wish our system was more proportionally representative, so people like me could vote for the party they ACTUALLY agree with, without having to succumb to the (regrettably true, in my case) notion that “a vote for the NDP is a vote for the Conservatives.”

    1. Uzi, that’s why I’m urging everyone to vote strategically – to dump Harper and his henchcreatures. If there’s no strong NDP candidate in your riding, vote Liberal; if there’s no strong Liberal, vote NDP. If you live in a strong Tory riding (god help you!) with no hope in hell for Libs or NDP, spoil your ballot.

      1. Almost, but no.

        If you live in a strong Tory riding with no hope, vote your conscience don’t spoil your ballot. Every vote counts towards that party’s funding in the next election, so your vote will still count for something even if it’s not electing your MP.

        With the myriad of choices out there, spoiling your ballot is a stupid move. If you live in a swing riding (usually Conservatives and Liberals), grit your teeth and vote Liberal. If you live in a “safe” riding, vote your conscience no matter who it is.

        Check to get the latest polling numbers for your riding.

  16. As an American, I have to say:

    Good job, Canada. Set an example for the US. Nothing sets the US on the right track as quickly as getting shamed by a neighbor or rival.

    1. The inspiration goes both ways brother. With Obama in many people have rallied behind the liberal and DNP parties. Just go to Ottawa and you’ll see love for Obama. There is even a deli that sales Obama cookies and has life size cut outs of him throughout the store.

  17. Voting strategically makes sense only if you look at your specific riding. BC in particular has many ridings that are NDP vs CON, yet people vote LIB to ‘stop’ the Cons, then end up with a narrow Con win against the NDP contender.

    For those of us in ridings with no real contest there is Swing 33 – a list of the 33 ridings that won or lost vs. the Cons by narrow margins. Donate there.

  18. Good old Jack…promising everything and anything with no fear of ever having to be in power to follow through.

  19. For those in other provinces, I hope your voting goes well and you get as many people out as possible.

    I live in Alberta, where my vote means precisely nothing, where the “Frasier Institute” is somehow considered “objective research” and being a racist/bigot is beneficial towards whether you get elected or not.

    Good luck, those of us who get drowned out, appreciate it.

  20. I live in Calgary. My incumbent MP (Jim Prentice, actually a pretty good guy) stepped down. As far as I can tell every single candidate running is brand-new (well, I expect the Marxist-Leninist party will field the same lady they did last time). It doesn’t matter-the conservative candidate will win. I’ll still vote, and my vote is still undecided. I voted Green last time, as their candidate made a persuasive case of, “Look, Jim’s going to win-we all know that. But my party has some good ideas, and the money we get based on your votes will help promote them, and the other parties may adopt some of them. For the record I admit we have some awful ideas as well.” That guy’s not running this time.

    Interestingly, if you just count the lawn signs I’ve personally seen, it’s running ~80 Conservative Party, exactly 4 Liberal Party (all on public land and three of which were all planted within 5 metres of one another and appeared to have fallen down). And about 15 Green Party. I actually do think the Greens may come second in this riding, which is amazing to me.

  21. I appreciate these ideas, NDP. I’ll vote for you. But, here in Edmonton West, I think I have a decent sense of the mood and it doesn’t look good for you.

    This sounds dumb, but I think the biggest thing holding both the NDP and the Liberals back right now is their leaders and their “first impression”. Iggy and Layton both come off as scheming, political weasels to a lot of people here, and I assume it’s probably similar across the country.

    Surely you could find a leader with some charisma? Or, barring that, a guy who seems like a nose-down boring worker type (like Harper). To be clear, I’m not saying anything about policies or actual personalities. And I’m not saying this is how it should be… it’s just, you’re not going to get lots of votes in Alberta if you look and sound like Jack Layton.

    Put on some muscle. Or some fat. At very least, lose the mustache.


  22. JoeBoxr, there is absolutely nothing sound about warrantless wiretapping. You are clearly not paying attention to the news from this past week.

    Please visit Michael Geist’s website, or google for my insane rants against Harper for the past 2 years. They effectively contain the same information, except that I swear like a drunken sailor, and Geist does not.

    I’m sorry that I had to put it so bluntly, but even my hardcore Con friends from Ontario are at a loss for words about this particular issue.

    I’m applying Hanlon’s razor, and from what I can tell, Harper is just pure evil.

    Shawn Halayka

  23. The problem with the NDP is they will never come to close to gaining anything more than a handful of seats. So they can offer the moon in their election promises and never have to worry about figuring out how to implement the policies. Still, this can provide more motivation to the other parties to offer something similar. I’m curious if people have had a chance to read the liberal platform and their thoughts about it.

  24. if the guatemalification of america continues and our internet becomes just another cable teevee on demand, perhaps a group of intrepid hackers can form regional “underground railroads” for internet packets to get up to the free and open canadian internet, where they can then move about unhindered.

  25. Socialism is better than Capitalism every time. NDP deserve a chance to see what they can do. Liberals have made a mess in the past, and Conservatives have always really made a mess of things to the point I wonder how any one even voted for them in the first place. NDP need their chance now.

  26. I haven’t missed an election — federal, provincial or municipal in almost 25 years. But now I live in Hedy Fry’s riding. Even though the Tory in my riding is the most qualified, I won’t vote Tory. The NDP has had my vote federally for decades, but I won’t vote for the newb they have on the docket here. And Hedy Fry is just a lunatic.

    So I’m staying home and planning to move back out of this riding ASAP.

  27. Hmmm. Me thinks there are bigger problem in Canada than Net Neutrality or “universal” internet access. Much bigger.

    Different country, another smokescreen.

    The sad part is that voters will vote on a single issue (like this one, or abortion, or gay marriage) and totally lose focus of bigger issues.

  28. After the information coming from the Auditor General’s office today about yet another Tory scandal involving a crap load of money and a willingness to mislead the public at every turn, I can’t possibly fathom how anyone could vote Conservative. This is a party who will not answer questions, hands out funds illegally and claims that such an infraction is just a “matter of interpretation”. They are also the only government in the entire history of the Commonwealth to ever have been found to be in contempt of Parliament. Ever. Anywhere.
    Please, Canadians. See through the Tea Party smokescreen and vote send these guys packing while we still have a shred of democracy left in this country.

  29. the NDP has the right idea, unfortunately for Canada, it is highly unlikely they will be elected to Federal government. this is simply a card to play later on once King Steven injects CSIS spy’s into our own computers.

    1. You are a: naive to think they are not there already and b: naive to think any other party will ultimately work any differently.

  30. But comparing apples to apples when it comes to policies, I can’t support the Liberals or the NDP.

    Policies they say, or policies they actually do? For the Conservatives and Liberals, recent history has shown the two are quite different, but I think unequivocally worse for the former than the latter.

  31. Oh woe is me, I live in the Harper riding in Calgary,
    Its interesting to note that this time around there
    Are very few posters “Vote Harper” hopefully that
    Indicates that the mostly blue collar population are
    Beginning to realize that its time to get Harper out
    Of the PMO. As an older person who has been interested
    In government all I can tell you is that this man
    Scares me rigid, “Democracy” I don’t think “Our Glorious
    Leader” has any inkling of what it means in the free
    World. “Dictator” now there’s a word he understands
    Perfectly. He is arrogant to a fault. I pray that
    My fellow Canadians care enough about our country to
    Finally decide that he has to go, as far away from
    Government as posibble please. No wonder he scares
    People with his fearmongering aboout “The Others”
    Will my vote make difference in this riding? Probably not
    But by hell my vote for “anyone else” might.

  32. Stephen Gordon’s analysis of the corporate taxation issue, linked by JoeBoxr, is risible. There’s more honesty and economic wisdom in the reader comments. The relationship between corporate tax cuts and business investment is a fiction, like the fiction that tax cuts for the rich stimulate the economy. The latest Statistics Canada figures indicate that private non-financial corporations have stockpiled $456 billion of straight cash (Canadian dollars plus foreign currency), and they’re still not investing.

    Note to NDP bashers: The NDP and its forerunner, the CCF, is the only reason we have universal healthcare, and a host of other social programs under assault from successive Liberal and Conservative governments in recent years. Canadians have them because the CCF/NDP forced them on Liberal governments who needed their support to hold power back in the 60s and 70s.

    Internet policy is only one of a multitude of reasons to give Harper and the Conservatives the bum’s rush.

  33. Why no mention of the Liberal party? They’ve been clear in supporting net neutrality ( and have twice the support of the NDP. Even if they don’t win the election, they may even form a coalition with the NDP, then you have two like-minded parties on this issue forming a government.

    The Libs genuinely have the values closest to the average Canadian (including net neutrality). I don’t understand these other votes – NDP is Conservative is Bloquiste.

  34. Seems to me that if Canadians really wanted to keep the conservatives at bay, they would simply combine the less conservative parties and run in a unified manner instead of splitting the vote.

    Zealots only win because there is unity in stupidity, they march to the same drum. The differences between the progressive parties can surely be worked out satisfactorily in a balanced way.

    It’s like watching 3 kids fighting each other over cotton candy while the 4th kid is sitting there watching them scuffle while he eats it right out of the box.

    If businesses want to leave because of some policy issue, I say great. Someone less greedy will take your place, and everyone will benefit. Then you can get rid of “first past the pole voting” and THEN you can get a nuanced election of principals instead of the current system where 70% of the people arent getting what they asked for.

  35. Orange crush sold out in stores across Canada….Wow.

    Check out a last minute inspirational speech by Jack Layton

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